After more than 10 years working with programmes, promotion and recruitment with Volunteer Wellington, witnessing the effects of volunteering on the world, is always to the fore. So while on leave recently in London I was keen to see this exhibition in Shoreditch – with ‘changing the world’ outcomes. The show resonated because of the connections between creativity, passion and voluntary activity; and what happens when these elements set something alight.
New Zealand possum trapper Mark Hutchings is the subject of a series of photographs which are accompanied by a 14-minute film by film-maker Bridget Smith. As stated in London’s TimeOut Magazine, the works are about presence and absence, work and leisure, art and artlessness. There is even something mentioned in the quotes about job satisfaction. And then we learn that in 1980, herbicides such as Paraquat contaminated Hutching’s drinking water (much of his possum trapping has taken place in Tokomaru Bay). He is still recovering. The content of this exhibition – both the film and the photographs reminded me, so far from Wellington and hom, of the manyorganisations throughout the world who speak out fearlessly about the dangers of anything which damages delicate invenironments and eco-systems. This applies to both unwanted species as well as quick-fix poisons.
When Hutchings describes birdlife and plants regenerating in an area he has pared of possums, there’s poetry in it. He’s keeping on keeping on.
Those volunteers with a cause and passion do just that. They plant, they clear, they speak out – and they keep on doing it. This insightful exhibition brought about reflection on the 20 – 30 environmental groups with whom we work in the course of a year; recruiting individuals and also teams of corporate volunteers and supporting those who manage the volunteer programmes. There’s definitely poetry in it. For more information ring Volunteer Wellington on 04 4994572.